How to Write Tabloid Newspaper Headlines
 
by Bruce Lansky
 

You’ve probably seen tabloid newspaper headlines in supermarket checkout lines, and you know a lot of crazy stuff is printed as "news." Now you can turn on your creativity and write some wacky newspaper headlines of your own.

Here are some wacky newspaper headlines that you might see:

    Elvis Sighted in Wax Museum
    Shaquille O’Neal’s Parents Are Pygmies
    Shrek Ending Changed: Beautiful Princess Now Marries Handsome Prince
    President Bush Asks Vice President Cheney: "Where Exactly Is Afghanistan?"

Though you might think some (or all) of the headlines are funny, I doubt you would call them a "poem." It’s just a list of headlines; it doesn’t make a point or tell a story. But if I add one more headline to it, I might make it a poem. What do you think?

    Caught in the Act

    Elvis Sighted in Wax Museum
    Shaquille O’Neal’s Parents Are Pygmies
    Shrek Ending Changed: Beautiful Princess Now Marries Handsome Prince
    President Bush Asks Vice President Cheney: "Where Exactly Is Afghanistan?"
    High School Hackers Arrested: Changed New York Times Front Page

    © Bruce Lansky 2002

This new version suggests that a couple of high school students hacked into the New York Times’s computers and changed all the real news headlines into wacky ones. This last "headline" turned the list into a story, which makes it more like a poem.

Find a copy of the National Enquirer or some other tabloid. Read a few headlines, and see if they give you any ideas. Mix and match headlines. Find a headline with a celebrity’s name, and replace it with your friend’s or teacher’s name. Make up a headline that you’d like to see in the future. The funnier, the better!

When you have several headlines, make a final headline that ties all the other headlines into a story. Did someone change the headlines at your local newspaper? Are the people at the news station having a little fun with the viewers? Is it April Fool’s Day? Backwards Day? A dream? It’s up to you!

Have fun writing headlines. Who knows? Maybe I’ll see your headlines next time I’m checking out at a supermarket!

 

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